NFF announces new Nike sponsorship deal

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Following on from our previous article, many football fans like Tunde Folawiyo often visits YouTube when looking for the latest news about his favourite team, the Super Eagles. Recently, he came across a news report on this site, in which it was revealed that Nike had entered into an agreement with the NFF (Nigeria Football Federation) that will see the sports apparel brand designing and manufacturing the football kits for both the male and female Nigerian teams, at every level. This includes the beach football team, the Olympic teams, the Under-17s, the Under-20s and the senior teams.

tunde folawiyo

This partnership began on the 1st of April, and will continue for at least another three years. As part of this deal, Nike will be creating the clothing and equipment for both the players’ training sessions and matches.  Additionally, it will be developing an exclusive range of products for supporters of Nigerian football teams; these are expected to go on sale by mid-2016, although an exact date has not yet been set. The first team to wear Nike’s newly-designed kit was the Nigeria’s under-20 men’s team, when they played at the Under-20 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand last month. The new 2015 home jersey is green and white, and features two stripes; a vertical one on the front of the garment, and a horizontal one on the right sleeve. This design is thought to have been based on Nike’s famous Striker shirt. The kit also comes with matching green shorts and socks.

The NFF’s decision to do business with Nike should come as no surprise to those who are already familiar with this sports brand’s existing affiliations; Nike is known for working with many major sports federations, and currently sponsors national teams not only within the US, South Korea, South Africa, and Holland, but also in France, England, Brazil and Australia. In an interview, Laurent Payre, who currently serves as the General Manager of Nike Africa, expressed delight at the new partnership, stating that he and his colleagues were very pleased to be collaborating with the NFF. He noted that Nigeria is famed for its passion for football, and went on to say that Nike is determined to contribute to the progression of this game at every level.

The President of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick, also commented on the partnership, describing it as ‘exciting’. He, along with Stephen Keshi and several other NFF members, signed the contract with Nike in London last April. On the day of the signing, he declared that he was certain that the deal would be a positive step forward for the club, adding that the NFF was happy to be partnering with one of the world’s leading brands. He explained that the deal symbolises the federation’s devotion to improving the future of football in Nigeria, and added that the NFF is eager to boost participation, and ensure that the national teams enjoy as much success as possible in the coming years.

Fans of Nigeria’s football teams are likely to be quite relieved by news of this partnership, as the NFF had been quite candid about its struggle to secure a new kit sponsor, after their partnership with Adidas ended late last year; at the time, Ademola Olajire, a spokesman for the federation, admitted that they were in talks with several different manufacturers, in the hopes of negotiating a replacement sponsorship.

The NFF first collaborated with Adidas more than two decades ago, entering into an agreement just before the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994. Although the NFF switched manufacturers soon after this tournament, and worked with Nike for the next eight years, it reinstated its contract with Adidas in 2004. Just two months after the contract with Adidas expired, reports indicated that Puma was in the running for the role of kit sponsor, with sources revealing that the brand had expressed a serious interest in making a deal with the NFF. Ultimately however, the two parties were unable to agree upon terms which suited them both, resulting in Nike stepping up to the plate, and delivering a deal which was satisfactory for everyone involved.

Speaking about the NFF’s previous contract with Nike, Pinnick noted that the national teams had performed well during that period, winning their first ever gold medal for football at the Olympics in 1996, and reaching the 16th round of the FIFA World Cup two years later. The NFF president finished by saying that he was sure that the federation’s second partnership with the corporation would bring about further moments of glory for all of Nigeria’s national teams in the future. Whilst of course, no-one can say for certain how Nigeria’s sports teams will fare over the coming years, there is no doubt that they will benefit from their affiliation with this major sports brand.

Nigeria v Gabon: Dream Team through to the final

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Nigeria’s under 23 national football team, known as “the Dream Team VI”, beat Gabon’s team on Saturday 7th March 2015, taking Nigeria through to the final round of qualifiers for the 11th All Africa Games’ Men’s Football Tournament. The fixture was held in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

Tunde Folawiyo

The match had supporters such as Nigerian entrepreneur Tunde Folawiyo on the edge of their seats, culminating in a 2-0 victory for the Dream Team. Gabon’s under 23 team put up a valiant fight but were ultimately outclassed by their Dream Team rivals, sustaining this loss on top of a 4-1 defeat in Libreville, knocking them out of the All Africa Games qualifiers.

Junior Ajayi and Oduduwa Segun were the Dream Team’s scoring players, taking the team to the next round of qualifiers with an aggregate score-line of 6-1. Samson Siasia, the Dream Team’s Head Coach, seemed somewhat critical of his team despite their win, indicating in interview that there had been lapses and pledging to iron these out before the next match with Zambia.

Nigeria’s youth teams are often eclipsed by the success of the senior national side, but it is teams such as the Dream Team which will produce Super Eagles of tomorrow, achieving glory with the first team and becoming national heroes, in many cases, overnight. Afcon finalists Ghana demonstrated the importance of integrating a successful youth team into the senior side with their squad of 2009. South Africa and Equatorial Guinea have seen a major upturn in their fortunes since employing former youth team coaches. On an international level, Germany and Spain are shining examples of how recognising and nurturing potential; honing the skills of young players and careful planning and preparation can reap unforgettable glories. It is in this context that Super Eagles enthusiasts such as Tunde Folawiyo are beginning to look to Nigeria’s youth tournaments for the up and coming stars of tomorrow. The greatest challenge in building any national side is translating the magic of youth to the international competition pitch.

Samson Siasia’s under 23 team provide arguably the most promise in raising the fortunes of the senior side. These young players are hungry for success. With a combination of raw talent and tight coaching, they could be a breath of fresh air for the Super Eagles, bringing refreshment, revival and rejuvenation.

Through rigorous trials in Abuja in 2014, Samson Siasia worked whittled down a list of some 120 players to the Dream Team we see today. To these under 23 year olds, being picked to play for Nigeria’s Olympic side was precisely that: a dream in itself, and one which might just open the door to the echelons of professional international football.

Controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation, the under 23 team represents the country in international football competitions, including the Olympic Games (where the use of three overage players is permissible). The current squad is comprised of:

  • Daniel Emanuel (goal keeper);
  • Akande Abiodun (goal keeper);
  • Okorom Stanley (defence);
  • Erhun Obanor (defence);
  • Odudwa Segun Tope (defence);
  • Sani Faisal (defence);
  • Atanta Sodiq (defence);
  • Sincere Muenfuh Seth (defence);
  • Azubuike Okechuku (midfielder);
  • Kingsley Sokari (midfielder);
  • Oshobe Oladele (midfielder);
  • Godwin Savior (midfielder)
  • Saliu Popoola (midfielder);
  • Mohammed Usman (midfielder);
  • Tiongoli Tonbara (midfielder);
  • Etebo Oghenekaro (forward);
  • Alex Iwobi (forward);
  • Ajayi Oluwafemi (forward);
  • Peter Onyekachi (forward);
  • Amuzie Stanley (forward);
  • Omofoman Freedom (forward);
  • Paul Onuachu (forward).

The Dream Team’s youngest player is midfielder Azubuike Okechukwu, who has already collected an impressive four caps at the age of just 17. Their top scorer is Ajayi Oluwafemi with five goals. Recent call-ups to the Nigerian under 23 team include goal keeper Bala Yusuf Mohammed; midfielders Effiong Emmanuel Etim, Obido Godwin and Obochi Peter Eneojo and forwards Adetunji Sunday and Ewenike Achibi Chibuike.

The Nigerian under 23 team made their debut at the Olympic Games in 1968. ‘They have made five appearances since. Their best result was in Atlanta in 1996, when they took home the gold medal. They won silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The Dream Team have made five appearances at the All Africa Games, winning in 1973 – their debut appearance. They claimed the silver medal at the All Africa Games in 2003, and bronze in 1995 and 1991. The Dream Team won the Inter Continental Cup in 2008 and the Niger Tournament in 2002, claiming third place at the TIFOCO Tournament in 2003.

Dream Team Coach, Samson Siasia, is optimistic that his team will qualify for the All Africa Games when they host Zambia on Sunday 22nd March in Abuja. Siasia told interviewers that his boys are ready and that their focus is on getting the job done. He has great ambitions for his squad, both at the All Africa Games and the 2016 Olympics.

All change for the National Nigerian Football Team

Monday, December 29th, 2014

It has been announced by a top Nigerian Football Federation official that Frenchman Henry Michel is to be the new Super Eagles coach.  Michel expressed his willingness only last week to coach the African champions if he were to be approached by the Nigerian Football Federation.  The controversial decision to let Stephen Keshi go came just hours after the Super Eagles match against Sudan.  Several well known coaches have been linked to the job, including Germany World Cup winning captain, Lothar Mathaus.  Also linked were coaches Klaus Toppmoller, Roger Lamerre and ex-Netherlands coach Ruud Gullit.  However, it is reported that the job will go to the well-travelled Frenchman according to a Nigerian Football Federation official.  The post is being filled in the interim by Shuaib Amodu and three other coaches awaiting an official appointment.

Henry Michel is a highly respected figure in African football.  During his illustrious career he has coached the national teams of Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Morocco and Cameroon.  He also skippered the French national team that included the legendary combination of Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse, Michele Platini and Luis Fernadez, a team which finished in third place in the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.

There has been criticism amongst Nigerian fans of the decision to change coaches before in the run up to the team competing to qualify for next year’s AFCON.  With a slim chance of qualifying, the team need to be in the best possible hands to turnaround their hopes of defending the trophy won by them in 2013 in South Africa.

Nevertheless, the interim coach Amodu Shuaibu has made a significant contribution to the development of Nigerian football.  The Edo state born coach has made some remarkable achievements skippering the Super Eagles.  It is under his stewardship that the team qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and took third place in the African Cup of Nations in Angola in the same year.  Shuaibu has managed the Nigerian team on three previous occasions: from 1998 to 1999, 2001 to 2002 and 2008 to 2010.  He has a turbulent relationship with the team’s fans and his employers.

In a recent interview, Stephen Keshi commented that he had not been sacked by the Nigerian team.  He confirmed that his contract with the Nigerian Football Federation came to an end in the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, making it inappropriate to say he was sacked from his post.  Keshi remarked that the team could still qualify for the 2015 African Cup of Nations with hard work from the players and encouragement from the fans.  Nigeria is currently occupying the third position of Group A with 4 points, following the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 7 points and South Africa’s 8.  The Super Eagles are set to play the Congo on the 14th November, and South Africa on 19th November.  In the meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria team were defeated by the First Bank of Nigeria team in a lone goal win in the 28th annual All Financial Institutions Football Competition.  The winning goal was scored by Gafar Lasisi in the 56th minute.

Concerns were reported by the Nigeria Football Federation’s new President, Amaju Pinnick, with regard to Stephen Keshi.  Pinnick hinted that his contract might not be renewed, calling into question the trainer’s competence after the game against Iran.

In the wake of Nigeria’s defeat by Sudan, Keshi pleaded with Nigerian Fans to forgive him and his team.  The Super Eagles failed to record a win in the qualifiers for the African Nations Cup at the fixture in Khartoum and were defeated by just one goal.  The Super Eagles thus have to win their remaining three matches in order to qualify to play in the championship.  Super Eagles striker Emmanuel Emenike blamed the bad condition of the Khartoum football pitch for the team’s shocking loss against Sudan.  Emenike commented that the pitch had been left flooded before the game, ensuring that the Nigerian team had no opportunity to practice on the Sudanese pitch before the match.

With sweeping changes afoot, Super Eagles followers such as Tunde Folawiyo will be keeping a keen eye on what happens next.  Born in Lagos in 1960, Mr Folawiyo is a London School of Economics graduate and Member of the Bar of England and Wales as well as an ardent Super Eagles supporter.  To discover more about this African Business Leadership Award winner, follow Tunde Folawiyo on Twitter.

The Nigerian national football team (known as the “Super Eagles”) represent the county in international association football.  The Super Eagles are controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation.  Nigeria played its first official game in 1949, whilst the country was still a British Colony.  Nigeria competed in the World Cup for the first time in 1994 under the management of Clemens Westerhof, and won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1980, 1994 and 2014.  The team’s highest capped player is Joseph Yobo, with Vincent Enyeama a promising runner up.  During 1994, the Nigerian national football team ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, the highest ranking achieved by an African team in the continent’s footballing history.  The Super Eagles’ first manager was John Finch, who managed the team from 1949 to 1954.  The outgoing manager, Stephen Keshi, took over the reins in 2011.  Super Eagles fans like Mr Folawiyo will be watching with baited breath for confirmation of the new manager and whether, despite all the odds, he can lead the team to AFCON success.


Keep updated with our latest posts such as NFF announcing new Nike Sponsorship deal.


How will Nigeria fare at the World Cup?

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Tunde FolawiyoWith the World Cup upon us, fans of Nigeria’s Super Eagles like Tunde Folawiyo are no doubt wondering how well the team will perform at the tournament. A number of players and NFF officials have voiced their opinions on the subject; Vincent Enyeama, the Eagles’ goalkeeper, is optimistic about their chances, and has publically stated that he believes they will reach the semi-finals. However, he was quick to add that he and his teammates will be taking it step by step, and for now will only be focusing on reaching the second round.

Like Enyeama, Victor Moses is hoping that Nigeria will secure a spot at the semi-finals. Moses, who currently serves as a winger for Chelsea, is cautiously optimistic about the team’s ability to get ahead at the tournament, although he noted that this could only be achieved if they are willing to listen to the advice of their coach, Stephen Keshi. He finished by saying that there is a great deal of camaraderie between the players, and that this will be helpful when it comes to attempting to realise their ambitions at the event.

Gustavo Dzugala, who was recently appointed as Nigeria’s Argentina Ambassador, refused to comment on which team would emerge as the ultimate winner of the tournament; however, he did name Nigeria and Argentina as favourites in Group F. He predicted that these two clubs would manage to defeat Iran and Bosnia.

In terms of individual players, Peter Osaze Odemwingie has been named as someone who is likely to outshine his teammates at the tournament. Emmanuel Babayaro, who once served as Nigeria’s goalkeeper, noted that Odemwingie has a number of qualities that will help the Eagles to succeed in Brazil. He described the forward as dedicated, experienced and confident.

Odemwingie’s recall to the squad after a two-year absence is likely to have come as a surprise to Tunde Folawiyo, and other Eagles supporters. The forward has clashed not only with Keshi, but also with other Eagles coaches over the years. However, Odemwingie seems eager to put these tiffs behind him, and has spoken on Twitter of how happy he is to be back with the team. While some remain sceptical of Odemwingie’s humble words, and have argued that he is merely putting on a front in order to get a place in the World Cup squad, there’s no denying that he will be a valuable asset on the pitch.

The Super Eagles’ chances of success at the World Cup

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Tunde FolawiyoWhile supporters of Nigeria’s Super Eagles, like Tunde Folawiyo, are probably looking forward to the team’s participation in the World Cup, some say that they are simply not ready for what lies ahead. Adokiye Amiesimaka, a former player who was a member of the team during the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations, has argued that the NFF and the club’s coaches should have been focusing more on the technical crew, and less on the squad list.

Samson Siasia, a former coach of the team, has also expressed his views on Nigeria’s chances at the World Cup. He contends that in the group stages, Iran are likely to be the Eagles’ most challenging opponents. They will face them in their first game of the tournament. Like Amiesimaka, Siasia noted that the technical crew need to work harder to ensure that Nigeria defeat this team. He suggested that the crew obtain a compilation of Iran’s past matches, in order to formulate the right type of tactical plan.

However, it seems that for most people it is the squad list, rather than the technical crew’s strategies, which has been occupying their minds. As a fan of the club, Tunde Folawiyo may have heard that the NFF are said to have rejected coach Stephen Keshi’s original squad list, on the grounds that he failed to include several key players, notably Peter Osaze Odemwingie and Joseph Yobo. Keshi tried to explain the reasons behind his decision to exclude these men, stating that there were issues regarding their fitness, and their recent injuries. However, the NFF asserted that the experience of these players would make them valuable assets to the team at the tournament.

Joseph Yobo has also assured the public that he will be physically fit for the World Cup, despite having missed out on several matches in recent weeks due to a calf injury. Yobo, who currently serves as a defender for Norwich City, has said that he has returned to full training and will be healthy enough to participate in the tournament.

However, while this announcement may have allayed fears regarding the player’s physical fitness, some still have doubts about his ability to positively contribute to the squad; Kashimawo Laloko, who works as the NFF’s assistant technical director, seems to agree with Keshi’s initial decision to exclude Yobo; he has argued that the defender will weaken the team.

No goals in Eagles’ clash with Greece

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Tunde FolawiyoAs a supporter of Nigeria’s national football team, Tunde Folawiyo was no doubt disappointed when their recent clash with Greece ended with neither side having scored. However, although the Eagles failed to net any goals, they performed well in terms of defending themselves; Greece only had one clear opportunity to score, during the 83rd minute, when Salpingidis’ header resulted in the ball going just over the bar.

Initially, it seemed as though Greece might take the lead when, in the 7th minute, a quick pass from Karagounis to Fetfatzidis went unnoticed by the Eagles. However, Fetfatzidis’s shot was inaccurate, and never made it into the net. Three minutes later, things seemed to be looking up for Nigeria, when they were awarded a free kick, that was taken by Emenike, but a weak shot by the striker meant that the team failed to gain the upper hand.

The remainder of the match was filled with missed opportunities, as both sides struggled to break down their opponents’ defensive line. Towards the end, Nigeria resorted to taking shots from long range, rather than attempting to get closer to the goal post, but this approach proved fruitless. Things went from bad to worse after Echiejile suffered an injury on the pitch and had to sit out the rest of the game.

After the match, Eagles coach Stephen Keshi expressed some disappointment with the team’s performance, noting that his players would have to improve very quickly if they wished to succeed at the World Cup. He acknowledged that every team has bad matches now and again, and added that perhaps this less-than-perfect game would motivate the players to work harder during the tournament. He finished by saying that the purpose of a friendly is to help a team unearth its weaknesses, and this is precisely what happened during the Eagles’ battle against Greece.

Despite his words, Keshi might be regretting his choice of squad members, given their performance in this match. Eagles fans such as Tunde Folawiyo were probably quite surprised at the manager’s decision to exclude midfielders Joel Obi and Nosa Igiebor, as well as Sunday Mba, who played extraordinarily well during the African Nations Cup. However, Keshi explained that he could not be sentimental when making his choices, and had to base his decisions on players’ recent performances.

The Nigerian National Team Takes Flight

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Known as “The Super Eagles”, the Nigerian football team has been one of Africa’s most successful over the past few decades. With a rich history of world class footballers, such as Patrick “Segun” Odegbemi, JayJay Okocha, and Kanu Nwankwo, combined with a number of exciting young players on the horizon, the impact which the Nigerian team has had on football in Africa and beyond should continue for many years to come.

Formed in 1949, the Nigerian football team had already been in existence unofficially since the 1930s. The development of the game in Nigeria finally bore fruit in 1976 and 1978[2] when the national team finished third out of all teams competing in the renowned African Cup of Nations. In 1980 the Nigerian national football team which was comprised of such legendary players as Tunji Banjo, Christian Chukwu, and Muda Lawal, went on to win the competition out right, cementing themselves in football history.

Tunde FolawiyoThese successes were added to in 1994 when the team first reached the World Cup. The Super Eagles made an explosive immediate impact on the international game immediately, by topping their initial group which included well-known and established international football teams such as Argentina, Bulgaria, and Greece. They went on to the next round where they led a famous Italian side by 1-0 until the last two minutes of the game when Roberto Baggio scored a goal to take the game to extra time, scoring another via a penalty kick during extra time which ended Nigeria’s excellent and impressive run in the competition that year. This accomplishment was equalled in the next World Cup in 1998 when the team reached the second round of the competition, doing the same again in 2014. In the years between, the Nigerian national football team also qualified for the 2002 and 2010 World Cup competitions, further solidifying their reputation as a successful and admired international football team.

Building on the achievements of previous players, Nigeria continues to produce young footballers ready to make their mark on the international stage. In 2014 the Nigerian under 17s team won the FIFA World Cup for their age category for a staggering 4th time. Their coach, Many Garba, continues to develop these players attracting attention from some of the world’s most prestigious football clubs including Arsenal. This most recent victory, which took place over a highly skilled Mexico team, is the latest example of why the Nigerian football team will continue to contribute to the football community in a positive way, as it has done over the past few decades.

With a number of high profile supporters such as Tunde Folawiyo (for more information read this blog article on Tunde Folawiyo), the Nigerian football team will continue its high profile work as one of Africa’s most successful footballing nations.

Are there changes in store for the Super Eagles squad?

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

After several weeks of negotiating, Stephen Keshi has officially agreed to continue serving as the coach of the Super Eagles. He sent his formal letter of acceptance to the Nigerian Football Federation last week. The news of the coach’s contract renewal will no doubt come as a relief to Tunde Folawiyo, and other Super Eagles fans, as it means that the team now have the leadership they need to prepare for the first of their AFCON qualifying matches, which is to be held on the 7th of September.

The team are set to face Rwanda, Sudan and South Africa in the Group A matches next month. Rwanda was named as one of their opponents after their outstanding penalty shootout against Congo resulted in a 4-3 victory. They will be travelling to Nigeria to play the Eagles. Although the Wasps performance against Congo was impressive, Eagles’ fans like Tunde Folawiyo are probably not too concerned, given how well their team played at AFCON last year.

More upheaval may be on the cards for the Super Eagles in the near future, as Sammy Amoebi, who currently plays for Newcastle, has expressed a desire to devote his senior career to Nigeria, much like his brother Shola has. In an interview, Sammy said that it would be a great honour to join the Eagles, adding that after seeing how happy his older sibling was with the club, he is sure that he too, would fit in well.

Tunde FolawiyoThere have also been rumours that Kelechi Iheanacho, a player who rose to fame during his time with the ‘Super Eaglets’ last year, might be joining Nigeria’s senior team in the very near future. His performance at the U-17 World Cup 2013 was outstanding; the seven assists and six goals which he provided were instrumental in helping his team to win this title. His efforts did not go unnoticed, with the committee awarding him both the Golden Ball and the Silver Boot for his hard work on the pitch. During the same year, he was given the title of ‘Most Promising Youngster’ by the CAF.

However, opinions are divided on whether Iheanacho would do well if he joined the Super Eagles. Sports journalist Solace Chukwu contends that integrating into the senior Nigerian team might be too overwhelming for the young man, but James Ezimoha believes that the Eagles need some fresh faces, and that Iheanacho could provide the commitment, passion and zeal that the existing squad so desperately need.

Although football is something which interests Folawiyo greatly, he also has many other passions, including entrepreneurialism. Those who want to learn more can read about the Tunde Folawiyo success story on Frontiers.

Jay-Jay Okocha – The Best Nigerian Player of His Generation

Monday, September 29th, 2014

In the streets and neighbourhoods across Nigeria, school boys mimic the moves of their favourite football players and this was no exception in the 1990’s for one such lad, Augustine Azuka Okocha, who would one day be regarded as the best Nigerian player of his generation.

Tunde FolawiyoAugustine Azuka Okocha, known throughout his life as Jay-Jay, would show potential and promise in the game of football with his many displays of athletic dexterity as a young member of the Unugu Rangers. One memorable display was the extraordinary goal he scored against the experienced Nigerian goalkeeper, William Okpara of the BCC Lions.

Jay-Jay Okocha, a midfielder, gained the notice of Eintracht Franfurt in 1992, where he soon joined their ranks along with Tony Yeboah, the international Ghana striker. In 1993, Jay-Jay awed fans with a spectacular display of moving the ball past the penalty box, going by some players twice, in a drive to complete the goal over attempts to block it by Oliver Kahn. This move helped earn Jay-Jay the 1993 Goal of the Year by Sportschau and voted Goal of the Season by many popular soccer magazines. In 1996, Jay-Jay joined the Fenerbahçe Turkish club, where he would amass 30 goals during his 60 appearances in just two seasons. While there, Jay-Jay would develop his trademark “free kick” goals.

But, it was his four years as a player for the Bolton Wanderers that would convert Jay-Jay Okocha into the superstar he is still considered today. He became an instant favourite with the Bolton fans in his premier season of 2002, when they dubbed him “so good they named him twice.” By 2004, Jay-Jay was the captain and steered the team to their first Football League Cup final in nine years. Jay-Jay became the favourite player of Tunde Folawiyo and remains so to this day. On the profile of Tunde Folawiyo there are many examples of the remarkable and breathtaking moments with which Tunde Folawiyo and many Nigerians experienced while watching this remarkable player.

He made his international debut on the Nigerian National Football team during the 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier. He would help the team reach 5th rank status that year, which was the highest ranking an African football team had ever achieved. During the 1996 Olympic Games, Jay-Jay would join the Nigerian “Dream Team.” By 2002, he was Captain of the Super Eagles, taking the team to third place at the 2004 African Nations Cup, where he would score four goals including the 1000th goal in Nations Cup history and be awarded the Player of the Tournament and Golden Boot.

Are the Super Eagles ready to face their Group-A AFCON opponents?

Friday, September 26th, 2014

With the first of their AFCON qualifying matches looming, the Super Eagles are now working hard to ready themselves for this event. Nigeria have been named as the favourites to win in Group A; however, many say that the Eagles should not underestimate the abilities of their opponents, as to do so could deal a fatal blow to their progress in this important tournament.

Rwanda, whom the Eagles are due to play in Group-A, have been doing well under the guidance of their new manager, Stephen Constantine. Their recent victory over Libya, the 2014 CHAN champions, serves as a testament to how far they have come over the past few months. Coupled with their impressive performance against Congo this month, there is little doubt that they are now capable of giving Nigeria a run for their money. Tunde Folawiyo, and other Eagles’ fans, are probably not too concerned however, given that Nigeria defeated Rwanda quite easily at the 2014 AFCON tournament, finishing with a result of 2-0.

Tunde FolawiyoNigeria will also have to face Sudan and South Africa. The latter are due to play the Eagles at the Cape Town Stadium on the 10th of September. Danny Jordan, the president of the SA Football Association, acknowledged that playing against the reigning AFCON champions at such a huge stadium would be a daunting task for Bafana Bafana. He added that for Shakes Masaba, who has just joined the club as head coach, this would be an especially gruelling experience.

Whilst there is no question that Nigeria have a tough road ahead of them, Olakunle Fayiga, a sports journalist, believes that with Keshi at the helm, they will have little difficulty in retaining their title. Discussing the coach’s many achievements during the past three years – from helping them to win CHAN in 2013, to leading them to their best World Cup performance in almost two decades in 2014 – Fayiga praised the dedication and discipline which Keshi has instilled into the team during his time as coach.

The journalist noted that, due to the respect which Keshi commands, there are now no longer any issues with players failing to honour call-ups, or showing up late to training camps. Fayiga finished by describing the Nigerian as being superior, in terms of his coaching skills, even to Clemens Westerhof, a man widely considered to be the greatest coach the Eagles has ever had. This is a bold statement, but it is one which many fans, including Tunde Folawiyo, might agree with.

As an Eagles supporter, Folawiyo likes to use social media to keep up to date with events in the world of football. To read about his thoughts on this subject, follow Tunde Folawiyo on Twitter.